The Ministry of Health has asked the autonomous communities to go all together, “giving the same information” to citizens, and that we all “respect the agreements of the Interterritorial Council and the Public Health Commission.” This has been the case in a meeting between the Ministry and the regional coordinators held this morning, according to Health sources. The matter concerns the chaos generated with the second dose of those under 60 who were administered a first COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca / Oxford: the Ministry advocates that the second be from Pfizer / BioNTech and so on It was able to approve it by majority in the Public Health Commission, but some communities reject it and have recommended that their citizens opt for AstraZeneca through an informed consent of the risks. The “instruction” is very clear, they say from the Ministry.
AstraZeneca sweeps those who could choose a second dose of Pfizer and that impacts the vaccination plan
Galicia, Murcia and Andalusia, communities opposed to the route of the second dose of Pfizer, have reported that 90% of citizens in this situation chose AstraZeneca on Tuesday. The Ministry quarantines that this is going to be a trend throughout Spain, because they are data from a single day. On April 7, Health and the communities suspended vaccination with AstraZeneca in children under 60 years of age, leaving almost 2 million essential professional citizens in limbo who were waiting to receive the second dose (the schedule is separated by 12 weeks) . Since then they have tried to decide what to do, and the route of the second dose of Pfizer was reached, with the option of informed consent if they wanted to opt for AstraZeneca. The debate cost many communities, especially those governed by the PP, to position themselves against the Ministry.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) found a link between some cases of thrombocytopenic thrombosis and those inoculated by AstraZeneca, but has never advised against AstraZeneca for any age, because its benefits far outweigh its risks. The technical data sheet of the drug also indicates the combination of AstraZeneca with AstraZeneca, which is for which informed consent is requested, endorsed by the Bioethics Committee of Spain last Friday.
But from the Ministry they explain the reasoning by which they have wanted to give Pfizer. It consists in that in Spain there have been 4 deaths from this type of thrombosis related to vaccination, and 20 confirmed or highly suspicious cases (between deceased and people who exceeded it), all under 60 years of age. It implies a prevalence of 0.5 cases per 100,000 vaccinated and a mortality rate of 22%. That is: the administration of AstraZeneca could translate into one death for every million vaccinated. In a context in which there are other vaccines, such as messenger RNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), which eliminate this minimum risk to zero (no links have been found between thrombosis and mRNA inoculations), they argued that it was better to choose that route.
In addition, the epidemiological situation is now more controlled in Spain than in other countries such as India, where the risk of thrombosis, so small, could be more manageable, the same sources point out. Other countries like France have also opted for the second dose of Pfizer for these people, but they decided to do so in April, and without informed consent. The Ministry of Health started a clinical trial to verify the effectiveness of “mixed” vaccination, although with a very small sample of people, 600 people, something that was highly criticized by the scientific community. From Health they defend that they did it like this so as not to make decisions blindly, and that it is backed by the EMA.
In Europe, the strong bet is on the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. Its messenger RNA technology makes it more adaptable to future variants of the coronavirus, and the company has complied with the agreements and demonstrated production capacity, they recall from Health. AstraZeneca has fallen far short of meeting Europe: Spain, by the end of May, should have received around 25 million from the European distribution. However, 6 have arrived, because the pharmaceutical company has not sent what was signed. Brussels is going to take AstraZeneca to court for this situation, while with Pfizer they have already signed a contract for 2022 thinking about possible massive revaccination, of the elderly or immunosuppressed.
The Ministry, in any case, will not take action against the communities that are inclined to put AstraZeneca to their population. They recognize the noise that has been made these days with the communities because of this second puncture from AstraZeneca or Pfizer. They do not admit that there have been communication failures, although it has been possible to generate some confusion when explaining the risks-benefits of vaccines and their difference with those of other drugs (vaccines are given to healthy people; drugs, to sick people , which is already in some danger). They also maintain that in principle there will be no shortage of doses even if the almost 2 million citizens in this situation choose AstraZeneca, something that was not counted on. Next Monday 1.3 million will arrive in our country.